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Advice on portable player

  1. Jasiono
    Hey all
    I'm coming from using hd428s for a while now and just bought the denon d600 the other day. I love the way they sound but I had to tweak the EQ settings a bit.

    I've been doing a lot of reading on being able to power headphones to their max potential and it brings me to this series of questions.

    I currently use an iPhone 6 for my music. I have no other media player.

    I've been browsing around and I see the fiiO series X1, X3 and X5. I've also seen the Sansa clip mentioned as well as all the iPod lines, mainly the ones that can be rock boxed.

    Any suggestions on what I should get?
    I listen to a lot of rock, Billy Talent, Iron Maiden, toward the darker stuff, also listen to Andrea Bocelli, Nightwish, lots of orchestrated metal, as well as house/dance music. I guess everything, to be honest.

    Not sure if I would need a small amp with the X5 but I imagine I would benefit from one of I went with the X1 or X3.

    Maybe I don't need a dedicated player and I could just use my phone or get an iPod and call it a day?

    I would rather not use my phone for a media player due to these batteries going down in the dumps quickly.

    Any input is greatly appreciated.

    If I had to lean toward a certain genre, I would say Nightwish style orchestrated metal, symphonic music. Not sure that it would make a difference.

    I'm leaning toward the X5 with the E11K amp.
  2. billybob_jcv
    No matter which of the Fiio DAPs you get, I think I would try the D600 straight out of it before buying the amp. You might find you don't need the E11K.

    The D600 is very efficient: 25 Ohms and 108 dB/mW - it was designed to be used with portable devices.
  3. Jasiono
    Sucks I can't try before I buy.
    Perhaps I could download a third party music app to allow for a much broader variety of music formats.
    Or maybe I'm getting my head into it more than I should :frowning2:
    The only differences I see between the x1 and x5 are the reviews and the fact that I can stick 2 micro sd cards in the x5, but reading the reviews it seems as though it's very mixed in that a lot of people like the x1 better vs the x5.
    Damn decisions :|
  4. thoughtcriminal

    He's correct. Any of the fiio players should be fine ampless. The x3 has what amounts to an e11k inside, and the x1 is pretty powerful too.
    Your iPhone may have the power to drive them also, it apparently has some power behind it. My concern would be implementation. Apple has historically cheaped out on the internal amps in their devices
  5. Jasiono
    I'll start with the X1. Grab it, see if I like it and if I do, keep it and forget about the others. If not, sell it and move on to the X3. They are cheap enough.
    From my understanding, the X1 should be better than Apple products considering what each product was built to be.
  6. billybob_jcv
    Prioritize your requirements and focus on the important things. For example, to me the file format is not a big deal. IMHO, 320K mp3 files ripped from good quality recordings are plenty good enough - especially for portable use. FLAC files just eat precious storage space on portable devices. I would focus more on other things, like the battery life, the size of the storage and the user interface.
  7. Jasiono
    X1 it is.
    I don't like the button layout of the X3.
    The X5 seems bulky and the only benefit I would have from it is the ability to add two Micro SD cards to it, and being realistic here, my library is not that big.
    X1 is a great size. The Sansa is limited in the memory and runs from 20-50 bucks, why not add an extra 50 and get something a lot more powerful and better quality.
    Apple products are just too overpriced and I don't like the fact that I cannot remove the memory, and all of their limitations across all their products.
  8. cel4145
    The Sansa can also take a micro SD card, so it's not limited in "memory." Also, I think the X1 does not have any built in memory (unlike the Sansa which does), so you will need to buy a micro SD card for the X1 to begin using it.

    That being said, the X1 is the better DAP. I say go for it :)
  9. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    Here's the thing: I personally don't see the point in getting an X1 and then strapping an amp onto it. It was designed to be a very compact player for a very portable system - basically the X1 (size of an iPod Mini) and one IEM. The only thing that would be bulky in such a set-up is if you have a big case for your expensive IEMs, like the Pelican cases that ship with some CIEMs. If you will mainly use headphones, might as well just get the X3, and better if you use headphones that it can reasonably drive because otherwise you'd have a thick system made up of a $200 DAP and a $100 or so amp. Aside from that the X3 has one other advantage over the X1: it can work as a DAC-HPamp out of your PC. So you can basically fill up whatever microSD card you have lying around with at least 16gb (or at least not blow a lot of money on one or several 128gb cards), then listen with your PC at home (the rest of your music library, streaming services like Spotify and Netflix YouTube, etc). Wait for the X3K to become widely available and bugs ironed out - that one will get the control wheel and looks like the X1.
    Oh and just for reference I've tried the Q701 on the X3 and it worked well enough. Not as good as my desktop amp, but it's something I can use without missing my Meier amplifier as much unless we're including much harder to drive headphones.
    That depends more on how you'd rather carry all that stuff. You'll either carry a smartphone and a powerbank, or a DAP and a smartphone. One of them allows you to hear when calls come in, but the need to charge might come at an inconvenient time, the other allows for more flexibility with IEMs (the X1 has a 100-step volume attenuation, which helps with very efficient IEMs) and headphones (the dedicated DAPs have way more power than general purpose devices). As for me, I use my SGS3 as a DAP, and then I have up to two spare batteries in my bag (or one in one of my other pants pockets), so if my battery dies I just switch them out then put them on a battery charger when I get home. The X1 is a lot better than the SGS3 especially with the more precise volume settings, but I'm not really into carrying any more stuff.
    That would matter for the headphones/IEMs; the player or amp will only matter when we consider how well the headphones/IEMs can be driven. People tend to prefer varying sound signatures for certain genres. Personally, get the most neutral one you can get (a bit warm-ish to be on the safe side) and can be easily driven by what you'll use with it considering cost and practicality (ie you might prefer to just use your phone in order not to spend or to keep a portable system compact, or you can buy an amp). I use the HD600 for my reference system at home then my ASG-1.3 on the go. The IEMs are kind of like the HD650 but without treble - their comfortable fit and efficiency won out over the others I was considering at the time.
    Speaking of Nightwish, here's the best system I can practically listen to now (no space for speakers, the ones I want - the Sonus Faber Stradivari Homage - cost more than my car)

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